Freshman Comp. Resources

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nordyandtheglamazons:
I am teaching comp 2 this semester, and I'm really unhappy with how it's going. I did some major restructuring after last semester, so my students would be writing more, but I still think we're getting too bogged down in details like formatting and citation which, even though they need to learn them, are not actually helping them become better writers.

We spend the first two-three weeks doing review of MLA and APA formats, citation, research, writing basics, etc. Then we talk about the basics of argument, then we explore a couple of different kinds of specific argument, then, as our final project, we discuss visual argument, and the students each create one of their own. By the end of the semester, they've written three longer papers, each with at least one draft, plus a couple of shorter ones, two projects, and two exams.
 
I've been teaching for a while now, but my training in my MA program was negligible at best, and I'm mostly self-taught on the job, and I've tapped out the resources at my university. Any suggestions would be very much appreciated.

prytania3:
You spend way too much time on citations, imho.

I throw some sample essays up on Blackboard along with a citation guide.

THEN--I show them the beauties of citing using WORD 2010. I walk them through it in the computer lab plus I post instructions on Blackboard. I have a little plagiarism activity I do first to get them in the mood.

An hour and a half tops.

As for argument, I highly recommened the book They Say I Say by Gerald Graff et al.

elsie:
Here is The Best Site for all aspects of teaching composition: http://compfaqs.org//CompFAQs/Home.

This site is associated with CompPile, which is a massive bibliography of composition scholarship.

yoyoy:
I agree with Pry. Move documentation to a secondary position for now and foreground critical thinking and organizational skills. Otherwise you may end up with a pile of exquisitely documented but disorganized papers that say very little.

dr_alcott:
Quote from: yoyoy on February 11, 2013,  9:08:46 PM

I agree with Pry. Move documentation to a secondary position for now and foreground critical thinking and organizational skills. Otherwise you may end up with a pile of exquisitely documented but disorganized papers that say very little.


+1.

Provide plenty of good student samples. Discuss what makes them good.

Write your own s***ty papers (so cathartic!) and discuss what makes them bad.

I also like to spend time on the information literacy part of the course: have students check the sources that your assigned readings use. Have them fact-check other arguments (my colleague does a great project in which students must fact-check Bill O'Reilly and Lawrence O'Donnell). There's lots of good examples of people who lack basic information literacy and think that Onion stories are real; those are great ways to get students' attention and talk about why these skills are important.

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